Bumblebees are fascinating insects because they play a vital role in an ecosystem. They are pollinators of trees, food crops, and flowers and help to keep the environment healthy.
Sometimes, we know bees are a nuisance, especially if they are attracted to a particular smell, for example, a strong perfume or food aroma. Since bumblebees are small, they are hard to study.
This is the case with many small insects since they will fly away quickly. In places like North Canada, these bees contribute significantly to the growth of wild berries, which are a traditional diet in those parts.
Bumblebees have plenty of exciting characteristics, which we are going to cover in this article. By the time you're done reading, we hope your perspective about bees will have changed.
If you're not a fan of small insects, you might find bees annoying. Whether large or small, it's time you made bumblebees your favorite insects for people who are big on animals. As we mentioned earlier, bees are vital in an ecosystem.
Globally, we have more than three hundred types of bumblebees. Out of this number, we have a distinct classification of Bumblebees found in Britain, making about 24 species.
In North America, there are 46 species of bumblebees that are spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Entomologists classify bees according to native bees, honey bees, and social bees.
Bumblebees fall under the category of social insects since they live in large colonies. A single colony may contain between 50 and 500 bees.
It's improbable that a bumblebee will sting you. This is because male bumblebees don't have a stinger, and the ones that have a stinger are less aggressive. A bumblebee will keep to itself unless you threaten it or its nesting site.
Many people tend to panic if they notice a bee nearby. If you see a bumblebee nearby, entomologists' advise that you remain calm. If the bee realizes you're not a flower, it will fly away quietly.
However, if you get stung by a bumblebee, you can quickly remove the stinger easily using your fingernail. Finally, never touch a bumblebee lying on its back. It will likely sting you since this is a defensive position.
According to entomologists', bees need a temperature of 50 degrees F (Fahrenheit) for easy flying. Additionally, they prefer a range of 80 – 90 degrees, which helps them minimize nectar storage usage.
In the morning hours, it's common to find bumblebees sleeping underneath a flower or looking lazy. Bumblebees prefer sleeping inside a deep flower because the temperatures are warmer.
Additionally, this is also closer to the nectar source. In many cases, a bumblebee sleeping outside may be a female forager. Most of them get caught outside the nest, especially if the temperatures go down.
The work of the female forager is to collect pollen and nectar. She stores it in small pollen baskets on her hind legs, which she takes back to the hive.
Compared to honey bees, a bumblebee doesn't die after stinging. Because their stinger has no barb, a bumblebee might sting you repeatedly if you're not keen.
But as we mentioned earlier, a bumblebee will not sting you unless it feels threatened. Additionally, bumblebees will thrive in temperatures as low as 0 degrees.
They have a mechanism of vibrating their flight muscles, which helps to generate heat and hence warmth.
Fun fact: did you know the world's largest bumblebee is found in South America? In many cases, bumblebee colonies die at the end of fall; It's only the queen who can survive winter hibernation.
After winter, the queen bumblebee starts a new territory. This is different from honey bee colonies where the queen survives the winter with some of her members.
The queen bee can store sperms in her ovaries, which are acquired during the summer mating season.
Once she finds a nesting place, she is ready to fertilize her eggs. When the summer ends, the queen and her worker bees die; her daughters replace them.
Studies have shown that male bumblebees have one chromosome; this means they have no father. If a queen bumblebee wants to produce a son, she has to lay an unfertilized egg. The
entire workforce of the bumblebee colony is made up of females. This is because the queen fertilizes her eggs with sperm, which she stores from the previous mating season.
In recent years, however, the number of bumblebees has drastically reduced. We even have two species of bumblebees that have gone extinct in some parts of the United Kingdom.
This is a global environmental problem. Bumblebees pollinate up to 75% of our crops, which explains why we need to protect them. Planting a pollinator garden will help to protect these small pollinators.